Family Sponsorship


Family reunification, to see that families are reunited in Canada, is a primary objective under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act. Canadian citizens and permanent residents may sponsor certain family members under the Family Class for permanent residence. The basic requirements to sponsor a family member require that you must be at least 18 years old, a Canadian citizen, or a permanent resident living in Canada, able to prove that you are not receiving social assistance for reasons other than a disability, and can provide for the basic needs of any person you are sponsoring. There are situations in which you may not be able to sponsor an individual, contact us for more information regarding your eligibility to sponsor.  

You can sponsor the following people:

Spouse, common-law partner or conjugal partner

  • Spouse: A legal marriage (both opposite-sex and same-sex relationships).
  • Common-law: A person who has been living with another person in a conjugal relationship for at least one year (both opposite-sex and same-sex relationships).
  • Conjugal Partner: A person outside Canada who has had a binding relationship with a sponsor for at least one year but could not live with their partner (both opposite-sex and same-sex relationships).

Dependent child, including Adoptees

  • Children under 22 years old, and they don’t have a spouse or common-law partner. 
  • Children 22 years old or older (also known as an overage dependent children) qualify as dependants if they have depended on their parents for financial support since before the age of 22, and they are unable to financially support themselves because of a mental or physical condition.
  • Adoptees: a genuine parent-child relationship that permanently severs the legal ties to the child’s biological parents or guardians.

Parents and Grandparents

  • Parents or grandparents who are related to the sponsor by blood or adoption.

Orphaned Relatives

  • A sibling, nephew/niece, or grandchild who are orphaned, under the age of 18, and not married or in a common-law relationship.

Lonely Canadian Rule or Last Remaining Relative

  • Allows a person to sponsor any relative (related by blood or adoption, regardless of age), if the sponsor does not have any of the following relatives in Canada who are either a PR or citizen: Spouse/common-law partner, child, sibling, niece/nephew, aunt/uncle, parent, or grandparent. Excluded is a member of the family class outside of Canada who could be sponsored by a sponsor. 

Obligations as a Sponsor

To sponsor someone is to legally promise to the Canadian government to provide for the sponsored person’s basic needs from the day they enter Canada as a permanent resident until the term of the undertaking is completed. Regardless of changes in family situations such as marital breakdown or financial changes, the sponsor continues to be responsible for the sponsored person and will repay the government for any social assistance (welfare) received by the sponsored person. 

Length of Undertaking

The length of undertaking, is the length of time that you are financially responsible for the person you sponsor. It begins the first day the person you sponsor becomes a permanent resident.

  • 3 years - for a spouse, common-law or conjugal partner
  • 10 years - Child under 13 years of age
  • 10 years, or until age 25, whichever comes first- Child 13 to 21 years old
  • 3 years - Child 22 years of age or older
  • 20 years - parent or grandparents
  • 10 years - for other relatives

*The length for undertaking in Quebec is different.

Sponsoring a relative if you live outside of Canada

If you are a Canadian citizen living outside Canada, you must prove that you intend to live in Canada when your sponsored relative(s) become(s) a permanent resident.  If you are a permanent resident living outside Canada you cannot sponsor someone.